Submitting Strategy

Submitting Strategy

Earlier this week I wrote a post about how Asimov’s, under Sheila Williams, has published more women this year (so far) than F&SF or Analog by a significant amount.  I mentioned this for several reasons, though probably not the one people think.  Though some people grokked my main reason, which was to make people (scratch) women aware of the markets they might deem “friendly” to them or their stories or the kind of stories they like to write.

Over and over I hear that women and men, in general, have different submitting strategies.  And that women, mostly, will stop sending stories to markets where they are sure that their stories have no chance.  In some ways, this is a good strategy.  It keeps one from sending stories about pretty, pretty princesses to Clarkesworld and gory horror stories to Realms of Fantasy. But then one runs the risk of rejecting the story for the editor, which doesn’t do anyone any good.  Finding a sensible balance between those two extremes is, well, sensible. But a key element in finding that balance is good information about a market.

If the common knowledge floating around is that this or that market doesn’t like girl stories or whatever, there’s a chance that people who write girl stories won’t send there. But if a market changes, or is looking to change, how is that common knowledge amended?  Though people pointing it out, talking about it, encouraging writers to update what they think they know.

More than once recently I’ve heard someone write Asimov’s off because of stuff that happened or stuff they read 5 or more years ago.  That was before the current editor.  Things have changed since then.  Things that matter to writers (like that goddamned form rejection we hated).  And one of those changes is the percentage of women in the magazine.  Maybe pointing this out will encourage women writers to pick up a few issues, read them, and submit themselves.  The more good writers in the slushpile, the more good stories in the magazine.  It follows.

Ann Vandermeer posted an interesting comment to Jeff’s response to my post:

Just a FYI. Opened up my WT submissions email account this morning. 25 new submissions. 22 from men, 3 from women. This is the typical submissions ratio I receive for Weird Tales (this is just from overnight – I’ll get more in during the day….)

Weird Tales is another example of a magazine that has gone through changes (major changes, in fact) and may still suffer from wrong “common knowledge” about what kind of stories they publish and that they’re more interested in what men write than what women write.  Now, I don’t know Ann, and I’ve only read one issue with her picks so far, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that she probably isn’t more interested in the stories that men write.  What she is interested in is up to her to show us as the magazine continues.  But if I were a writer (oh, I am), and also a woman (batting 2 for 2 here), I would definitely get right on sending her appropriate stories and not automatically assuming that she doesn’t want my fiction.  There are an awful lot of men who are doing this thing.  And it would please me above anything to have really strong female writers making their mark on that slushpile, amongst others.

I’m on the Tiptree jury!

I'm on the Tiptree jury!

Now that the other jurists are confirmed, I can jump up and down about this in public. Debbie Notkin asked me to be on the 2009 Tiptree jury, which means I, along with other fabulous people, will pick the winners from 2008 published fiction.

I’m so excited about this I cannot tell you. It’s a real honor to be asked, especially because this award is close to my heart.

I foresee many, many months of reading ahead of me, not to mention getting to know the UPS guy really well.

Dear People On The Internet

Dear People On The Internet

Something you’ve perhaps failed to understand over the last 15 or so years:

Reply –> Sends email to the person who sent it and only that person.

Reply to All –> Sends email to everyone on the “To” line of the original email plus the original sender.

Times where clicking Reply To All is appropriate:

  1. You know everyone in the group and what you have to say pertains to all/most of you.
  2. It is not a note/message meant for only the person who sent the original message.

Times when clicking Reply to All is not appropriate:

  1. 98% of your life on the web, people.

Seriously, the Reply to All should never, ever, ever, ever be your default clicky button when replying to emails. If you cannot help but click that button because of some curious disease of the mind (or habit, whatever), then remove that button from your interface. Don’t know how to do that? Ask a teenager.

Because, really, the number of you people out there who do not understand this, and the number of you who run businesses on the Internet and yet do not understand this to a crippling degree, appalls me. There is no reason for this foolishness.

No love,


Related Letter:

Dear People Who Design Email Programs,

Help us out, here. Make it so every time someone clicks “Reply to All” a window or dialogue box pops up and says: “Do you really want to do that? Reply To All is only appropriate when…”

Make it so that only people who really understand computers can figure out how to turn this off. You’re good at that, especially if you work for Microsoft.

If you do this, you’d be doing the rest of us a huge favor, thanks.



Branching Out

Branching Out

We’re adding several new features/columns at Fantasy magazine over the next few months.  (And I’m in charge!  Wooo!  I love being in charge.) One of the more fun aspects is getting in more different types of reviews.  TV, Film, Comic Books, etc. (I asked Wil Wheaton to do the comic column, he never answered me.  Now I can’t decide if it’s because my email got lost/overlooked or because he was insulted that I said we couldn’t pay.)

Anyway, the first of our film reviews is up today.  Genevieve Valentine gave up several hours of her life–at dear cost, I might add–to watch and review a SciFi channel miniseries.  All to make you people laugh.  So go over there and read it.

I will say, the majority of our reviews will not be so heavily styled.  But once I read the text she gave me, it had to be done that way.

Next week I talk about that damn Torchwood finale of fail and perhaps the Doctor Who first two episodes of win.

What Is Going On With Me

I am going to various social functions this week and missing some others and there is a lot going on with me. And as I know that I am not myself at the moment, I should probably explain somewhat.

Yesterday my grandmother died. She’s been sick for a long time and a few months ago the doctors informed us that her heart was failing and that she did not have very long to live. Cue the bit where I say this was expected, yes, but still hits me hard, yes. The funeral is this Saturday, which means that I’m going to miss ComicCon, which isn’t so big a deal, but also means that I’m attending a funeral on my birthday, which I am intellectually aware I should be somewhat upset about but can’t bring myself to feel much of anything at the moment.

I still don’t know how/if this will affect my Thursday birthday plans.  I do know that I won’t be having the party on Sunday, so I’ll email folks to reschedule.  I’ve made plans to have someone else do my duties at ComicCon, so that is mostly covered.  I will be at KGB this week.

Whenever something like this happens, most people’s first reaction is to ask “How are you?” or say, “Are you doing okay?” and the answer I will inevitably give is I am fine and Yes. But may I ask, if folks don’t mind, that you please not ask me those questions?  Or, really, ask me anything about it at all?  In general, I am not doing well and I don’t really want to talk about it.  And as with the days and months and years after my mother died, my reaction to anyone saying “I’m so sorry” and “How are you?” is to barrel right through their kind words and on to some other topic.  Or, even worse, to wave my hand dismissively and say it’s okay or I’m fine or It’s nothing when it most certainly IS something.  But I do not deal with grief well, and certainly not in public, so if it’s all the same, I would rather just not have to tell everyone I am fine.

I realize I’m being very high-handed and dictating how people should deal with me at this point, but considering that I’m unable to function normally and people will probably be like WTF is wrong with you? because of it, I feel the need to explain.  It also heads off most of the WTF comments.

Some Help, If Folks Don’t Mind

Some Help, If Folks Don't Mind

I have come across a minor research hurdle and wondering if anyone out there is able to help. It’s a simple yet hard-to-Google topic that I’d rather not get into publicly (not because it’s embarrassing, just… other reasons). Anyway, if you are a Native American individual and/or know a great deal about the Native groups that populated the East Coast Region before colonization and can help me with a minor question, please contact me via this link. Thanks!

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Due to some stuff on the Internets, I did some research (omg) on the # of women writers in the three digests so far this year.  The results of this, and my thoughts on the magazine that came out on top (Asimov’s), are over at the FSFBlog today.

Sean Wallace informs me that last year Fantasy published 83% women.  And, if you don’t remember, when certain types of people noticed this (I’ll leave it to you to determine what types of people those were), there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth and cries of “Oh, it’s so sad that Fantasy magazine doesn’t care about me and my stories”, and other such goings on. (cue tiny violin.)